It’s time to stop breaking the promises you make to yourself to eat right, exercise and develop healthier habits. For the next three months, from 05 September 2011 to 05 December 2011, MISSION: INCREDIBLE focuses on getting healthier one day at a time. There is only one rule: do a little more today than you did yesterday to keep your promise of taking better physical care of yourself. Follow that one rule - EVERYDAY - and the changes you see in three months will be incredible.

We’re all at very different exercise levels and we all have different weight targets, but it’s always nice to know you’ve got company on the journey. We’ll focus on three goals as part of our daily check-in: G1 - diet (the good, the bad and the ugly); G2 - exercise (your physical exercise for that day); and, G3 - healthy habits (things we adopt or learn along the way that help). Join us and leave your comments below!

Day 9


I’ve grown to love walking for general health, weight loss and appreciation of my city’s beautiful parks and byways. I walk at least four times per week, and usually five or six times per week when I’m on a challenge like Mission: Incredible or training for a 5 or 10K.

But though I enjoy walking, sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated. Some days I can listen to really great music and that will get me back on track. Other days, I use the walk as a time for resolving a conflict in my mind or mulling the pros and cons of an important decision I have to make. However, there are those times when it’s simply difficult to get out of bed, strap on the trainers and get going.

I spoke with a few of my fellow walkers on the trail today and asked them what keeps them motivated. Overwhelmingly, their answers were health related. Most cited medical issues, such as high-blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. One couple, Mr. and Mrs. Booth of New Orleans made a pact to walk together most days of the week after Mr. Booth was diagnosed with high-blood pressure.

Eileen Julien on her morning walk at the New Orleans City Park. (Nicole Moliere/Nicole Moliere)

Current health guidelines recommend walking from 6,000 to 10,000 steps per day, with 10,000 being the number suggested for weight loss. The average person's stride length is approximately 2.5 feet long, which means it takes just over 2,000 steps to walk one mile. Therefore, 10,000 steps will bring you close to a total of 5 miles.

You can measure the number of steps you take while walking with a pedometer. A pedometer senses your body motion and counts your footsteps. The count is converted into distance by measuring the length of your normal stride. Wearing a pedometer and recording your daily steps and distance is a great motivating tool.

Here's my check-in:

G1: I had one of those rebellious food days where I simply would not settle for less than “regular” food, whatever that means. I had a small portion of grits and bacon for breakfast, along with a large serving of sliced cantaloupe and some orange juice.

I purchased a to-go plate of Chinese food (boneless chicken with shrimp fried rice and vegetables) for lunch, but only ate half of it so that I could have the other half for dinner. Most Chinese food is certainly not “lite,” but sometimes you’ve just got to have the real thing. I snacked on baby carrots and drank water throughout the day. I do not drink soda.

G2: I walked four miles in City Park this morning, ten minutes of yoga and ten minutes of upper body boxing work from my Aerobarre DVD. Aerobarre is challenging, but it’s also a welcomed change from those boring and predictable aerobic workouts.

G3: I haven’t had chocolate or ice cream in a week, with is a BIG deal for me. I could say that it’s because I haven’t purchased them or brought them in the house. But I don’t think that’s the reason I haven’t had them. I’ve been really busy with this blog, other writing projects and figuring out how to make the transition from nine-to-five to freelance work. Making a big career change is usually very stressful, and might make one reach for comfort foods like sweets.

In the past, I would have. But I feel a growing sense of wanting to make healthy choices because I can, and I can feel my dependence upon food as a mood-altering drug lessen day by day. And that, my friends, is a good thing.

Tomorrow we take a look at the latest in pedometers and other great exercise gear. See you then!

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